We are only two weeks away from the start of the fantasy football playoffs, and with six teams on bye this week, it may be tough to fill out your roster. We got lucky with injuries in Week 12, as we got through the week relatively unscathed, but there are still several missing pieces or just straight up underperforming players due to injuries suffered earlier in the season. Cooper Kupp has been disappointing all season, Ja'Marr Chase’s value is way lower with Jake Browning in at quarterback, some of our running backs who have been our waiver wire darlings are now seeing a decreased workload due to the starters returning…where do we go to ensure we make a championship run?
At this point in the season, every win and loss counts, so you want to be on the right side of your waiver wire pickups. Even if you don’t need someone, this may be the time to try and block your competition because, let me tell you, nothing is worse than being beaten by a player you could have had on your own roster. You can’t afford to slack right now. That’s why I’ve dug in deep to look at some of the players who may be available on the waiver wire in your leagues ahead of Week 13. These may not be the most ideal, as some of the better options are on a bye, but the fantasy gods giveth and they taketh, so we deal with what we’re given. Let’s dive in.
Waiver Wire Quarterbacks
FAAB Bid: 1-2%
I don’t think anyone expected the Packers to come out like they did against the formidable Detroit Lions defense, but come out they did! Love had the best game of his young career, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. This isn’t an anomaly, as in Week 11, he threw for over 300 yards with two touchdowns. He’s doing all of this without a solid run game or any veteran receivers, and while the matchup against the Chiefs may be difficult next week, it’s easy sledding the rest of the way against the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. If Love can continue to build his confidence and rapport with his young receivers, he could be one of the best waiver options for the rest of the season.
FAAB Bid: 1-2%
Let’s be honest; there just aren’t many viable options left out on waivers at this point in the season, so we’re going to take what we can get. It’s definitely not promising to hear that wide receivers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are dealing with injuries and may not be available for Week 13, but at least the schedule is favorable for the Saints the rest of the way. They get matchups against the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants over the next three weeks, so there could definitely be a worse time to deal with these injuries. We’ve also seen Carr utilize Alvin Kamara at a ridiculous level earlier in the season, and he went back to that philosophy in the second half of Week 12’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. I’ve said this before, but I’ll just say it again. Carr may not be a high ceiling option, but he won’t get you a zero (unless he gets injured again), and with Kamara there to catch passes, he should be able to create some passing stats even with a low depth of target.
FAAB Bid: 1-2%
Much like Carr, we’re not feeling great about Minshew, but we don’t have many options. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense in Week 12, Minshew had a decent outing, putting up 251 yards and a rushing touchdown. He’s not hyper efficient, but the volume is there, and isn’t that what we’ve relied on Sam Howell for all season? Over the next few weeks, the Colts get the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers, so there should be plenty of opportunities to gain yards through the air, and Minshew is a sneaky red zone threat with his legs.
Waiver Wire Running Backs
FAAB Bid: 4-6%
Okay, admittedly, Chandler did not see the snap share that we’re used to seeing from him, but to be fair, he was pretty much game-scripted out after Joshua Dobbs threw three interceptions. It was not a good outing from the Vikings offense as a whole, but I think Chandler still has value down the stretch. He’s definitely the more explosive back between him and Alexander Mattison, and he also has pass-catching ability. He has a very favorable schedule against the Las Vegas Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and Detroit Lions coming up, and there will be better days for him as long as Dobbs can reel in his ball security.
FAAB Bid: 3-4%
To be completely transparent, I don’t really like many (most) of the options available at running back this week, but at least Elliott has continued to have somewhat of a role in this offense, and that’s more than we can say for most of the options left out on waivers. He’s not exactly getting the snaps that you’d like to see, but when he is, he’s been efficient. Over the past two weeks, he’s averaged 4.15 yards per carry and 5.11 yards per carry, as well as seeing a little work in the passing game. If you’re looking for a fill-in this week, he’s not it, but he is an intriguing stash option as we go down the stretch.
FAAB Bid: 2-4%
The impending return of De’Von Achane is obviously a thorn in the side of this option, but we don’t yet know if he’ll be ready to go in Week 13. If he’s not, we’ve got to take a look at Jeff Wilson. Yes, the carries were likely a result of game script, but Wilson was still efficient, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and seeing work in the passing game. You don’t want to spend much FAAB on him, but if you’re desperate, he could still have a role in a lopsided matchup against the Washington Commanders in Week 13.
FAAB Bid: 2-4%
Much like everyone on this list, Gainwell isn’t a plug and play option, but he should be looked at as a handcuff option at the very least and possibly a game script option. While he only saw two carries and three targets, he still played 35% of the Eagles offensive snaps in an even game script. Even though Philadelphia has some difficult upcoming matchups against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, they close the fantasy season against the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals, so if those games get out of hand, he could take over the majority of the snaps and carries. Again, it’s not my favorite option, but there just aren’t many backs who fit the rostership criteria this week.
With news today that Jonathan Taylor may be facing another stint on injured reserve, you have to try and get Zack Moss on your rosters. From Weeks 2 through 5, Moss was the RB4 in PPR leagues, and he even had value and they worked Taylor back into game shape. His ceiling can't be understated, especially with a schedule coming up against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17. Drop those FAAB dollars!
FAAB Bid: 3-6%
Yes, I know I just mentioned “rostership criteria” in the last part, but since he’s still available in 66% of ESPN leagues, I have to mention Keaton Mitchell. He’s slowly creeping up in snap share, and in Week 12, he outcarried both Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. The Ravens are on a bye this week, but if you’re looking for a stash, take a closer look at Mitchell.
Waiver Wire Wide Receivers
FAAB Bid: 15-20%
In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’m going to scream it from the rooftops. “Jayden Reed needs to be rostered!” Since Week 10, he’s the WR10 in PPR leagues, and not only is he an emerging receiving threat, he also has rushing upside. With Aaron Jones struggling with injuries, that cannot be understated. The matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs is also more favorable to him than it is to Christian Watson or Romeo Doubs, so he may be set up for another good week in addition to his softer rest of season schedule. If Reed is available, you need to get him on your roster.
FAAB Bid: 12-15%
The performance against the Dallas Cowboys was pretty pathetic all around for the Commanders offense as a whole, but Curtis Samuel did offer a bright spot working against Jourdan Lewis out of the slot. He finished with nine receptions and 100 yards, and this week, he gets a matchup against the Miami Dolphins. While the Dolphins have been stout on the outside, they have been susceptible to slot receivers, and that’s where Samuel thrives. He’s 12th in the league in slot snaps, and with Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard on Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, he may be the safety valve for Sam Howell. He’s also a nice stash play for Week 16 against the New York Jets.
FAAB Bid: 6-10%
We’ll have to watch the status of Michael Wilson closely going into this week, as Dortch only seems to have value when he’s out, but as he hasn’t been practicing the past few weeks, we can gamble and say that there’s a likelihood Wilson will be out again. In his absence, Dortch has seen 17 targets, and while the yardage wasn’t there in Week 12, he did score a touchdown to redeem his fantasy day. The Cardinals do have a favorable matchup in Week 13 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so if you’re in dire straits, he could be a great fill-in option.
FAAB Bid: 2-4%
Some of us have been waiting for the rookie to emerge, and in Week 12, we finally saw Jonathan Mingo take over the majority of the snaps, playing 68 of 74 offensive snaps and leading the team with six targets. The Panthers have to get something going on offense, and it started on Monday with the firing of head coach Frank Reich, as well as a few assistant coaches. None of his stats jump off the page, but his target share has been relatively consistent, giving him more than enough upside over some of the other options currently available on waivers this week. The matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is also one of the more favorable ones the passing game will see all year, so he should be a solid fill-in for Week 13, if not more down the line.
FAAB Bid: 3-5%
The New Orleans Saints receiving corps is decimated, with Michael Thomas on injured reserve, Chris Olave in concussion protocol, and Rashid Shaheed dealing with a groin injury. It’s time for the rookie to step up. He scored his first touchdown in Week 11, and although he only saw four targets in Week 12, he still played the most snaps of any receiver. Perry’s value comes down to whether or not Derek Carr trusts him and whether he chooses to look downfield or dump the ball off to Alvin Kamara. Still, you can’t argue with that snap share, and he should be basically free for those of you who have little to no FAAB budget left.
Waiver Wire Tight Ends
FAAB Bid: 15-20%
Who knew that when you utilized the middle of the field that it opened up the rest of the offense? In all seriousness, now that Matt Canada has been released, it is wheels up for Pat Freiermuth. He only played 42 of the team’s 71 offensive snaps in Week 12, but he led the team with 11 targets and finished with 120 receiving yards. With the drama in the wide receiver room, I think you can count on Freiermuth to continue to be a focal point of this passing game, especially against the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts. Don’t be afraid to drop a decent chunk of your remaining FAAB budget on him either.
FAAB Bid: 10-15%
If people were apprehensive about adding Likely because they hadn’t “seen enough,” let’s hope Sunday night’s game against the Chargers put those concerns to rest. Obviously, he won’t be an option for you in Week 13, as the Ravens are on a bye, but after he played 52 of the team’s 71 snaps and tied for second on the team with five targets, you have to give him a look. The schedule is admittedly tougher for Baltimore, but if you don’t have any other options, throw in a bid for Likely.
FAAB Bid: 3-5%
This is for those of you in super deep leagues, but since Joe Burrow went out, backup quarterback Jake Browning only has eyes for his tight ends, the lead being Tanner Hudson. I will caution that this is risky, as all four tight ends on the roster are splitting snaps, but when Hudson is on the field, he’s been getting looks, seeing four in Week 12. Even if Tee Higgins comes back, I’m not sure Browning immediately starts to look for the wide receivers over the tight ends, so Hudson could continue to have limited value down the stretch if you need a bye week fill in.